September 16, 2011
years ago in 1951 Wes Kingsley was the Wednesday night Modified
winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Jim Tourjee was the Claiming
Car winner. On Saturday night, Dave Humphrey took the Modified main while
Tourjee made it two in a row in the Claimers.
Fifty five years ago Melvin
"Red" Foote was the 25 lap Modified winner on Wednesday night at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner. The
Saturday night action at the shoreline oval was rained out.
Fifty years ago in 1961, Bob
Hall was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Red Foote took the
win at Norwood on Saturday night with Jack Malone, second. Ted Stack, a
truck driver for New London Sand and Gravel, won a 50 lap Modified feature
at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Ed Moody made it
two in a row in the Bombers.
Forty five years ago in 1966,
the Fonda and Utica-Rome Speedways closed out their racing seasons. At
Fonda, Pete Corey took the win over Jeep Herbert and Lou Lazzaro. At
Utica-Rome Kenny Shoemaker took the win over Lazzaro, Jerry Cook, Sonny
Seamon and Wimble. Rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Forty years ago in 1971, Islip,
Stafford and Oswego were still running as the season was winding down. Jim
Shampine won the Oswego 200 for Modifieds. At Islip, Jim Hendrickson, in the
Tony Ferrente x3, ruled the roost. Cliff Tyler finished second and was
followed by Jerry Cook and Gary Winters. At Stafford on Sunday afternoon,
Bugsy Stevens in the Koszela Woodchopper took the win over Fred DeSarro,
Denis Giroux and Ray Miller. Howie Brown won the NESMRA Supermodified
feature at Thompson over Paul Richardson and Eddie West. Dave Humphrey beat
out Len Thrall and Russ Klar to win the Midget feature. Donny Bunnell took
the win at Waterford over Glynn Shafer, Bob Tetreault, Lou Toro and Mark
Thirty five years ago in 1976,
Charlie Jarzombek recorded his tenth victory of the season at Riverhead.
Fred Sipala finished second with Wayne Anderson, third. The Thompson 300 was
a non-sanctioned small block Modified event. Geoff Bodine in a Dick
Armstrong team car took the win over Ed Flemke, Bugsy Stevens, Ray Hendrick,
Don LaJoie, SJ Evonsion, Pete Fiandaca and George Moose Hewitt.
Thirty years ago in 1981, just
about everyone was at the Pocono Raceway for the Annual Race of Champions.
Ninety-eight Modifieds were on hand to qualify for the 51 starting spots.
Among those who did not qualify was Tom Baldwin who set an altitude record
when he rode over Fred Harbach's wheel and vaulted out of the track. Geoff
Bodine started on the pole with Richie Evans on the outside. A classic
battle was anticipated between the two but it came to an end on lap two when
the rear end in the Evans mount broke. The 250-lap contest ended up being a
survival of the fittest affair. George Kent took the lead on lap 179 and
went on to take the win. Jamie Tomaino passed Tony Hirschman on the final
lap to finish second. Jerry Cook finished fourth. It was also on this
weekend that the last ever race would be run at the Danbury Fairgrounds as
the property had been sold and the speedway would give way to a shopping
mall. Bill Ladya won the final event. Don La Joie finished second with Lou
Funk Jr, third. Sean Donnelly was the Sportsman winner.
Twenty five years ago in 1986,
the Race of Champions was still at Pocono and it was the same story as in
1981 as George Kent took the win. Kent took the lead after Reggie Ruggiero
pitted on lap 164 of the 250 lap contest. Geoff Bodine ended up in second
spot and was followed by Jim Spencer, Ruggiero, Jan Leaty and Tony Siscone.
In other weekend action, Stan Gregger won at Riverside over Bob Polverari
and Dan Avery.
Twenty years ago in 1991, the
Race of Champions made its final appearance at Pocono Raceway. Donald "Satch"
Worley, driving the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino took the lead from Tom
Baldwin with two laps to go and went on to take the win. Baldwin broke a
valve and faded to fifth in the final run down. Rick Fuller finished second
and was followed by Jamie Tomaino and Greg Sacks. Mike Stefanik finished
sixth and wrapped up the tour championship. In other weekend action, Jerry
Marquis got his seventh win at Monadnock and it was Jim Broderick taking the
win at Waterford over Ted Christopher. In Winston Cup action, Harry Gant
earned the name, "MR. September" as he made it three in a row in NASCAR's
elite division at Dover. Gant also won the preliminary Busch Grandnational
event. On a sad note, former driver, promoter and friend of many, George
Pendergast, passed away after a bout with cancer.
Fifteen years ago in 1996, Todd
Ceravolo got his fourth win of the season at Waterford. Jim Broderick
finished second with Don Fowler, third. Matt Kobyluck was the Late Model
winner. Tom McCann won his seventh at Riverhead. Don Howe finished second
and announced that he was retiring after 27 years of competition which saw
27 wins and three championships. Steve Park, who was at the top of his game
in the Featherlite Modifieds got "THE CALL” from Dale Earnhardt Sr and
announced that he would be driving a DEI entry in 1997 on the Busch
Grandnational circuit of NASCAR. In Winston Cup action at Dover, Jeff Gordon
took the win. Jim Spencer was fined $10 grand for trying to hit Wally
Dallenbach along with Michael Waltrip and Kyle Petty who were fined for
Ten years ago in 2001, the
country was still reeling from the World Trade Center tragedy. NASCAR
cancelled the entire weekend schedule at the New Hampshire Speedway in
Loudon. The Modified and Busch North events were cancelled and the Winston
Cup event was rescheduled for Thanksgiving weekend. Before a light crowd the
show went on at Thompson on Thursday night. Kerry Malone took the SK
Modified win over Scott Foster, Ted Christopher, Bill Anderson and Jeff
Malave. Eric Berndt won the SK Modified feature at Waterford, was
disqualified, had it overturned. Ron Yuhas finished second with Mark
LaJunesse, third. The Waterford drivers took up a collection for the World
Trade Center victims, which resulted in over $10,000. On a sad note, Lou
Funk Sr passed away at the age of 76 and CART Superstar Alex Zanardi lost
both legs as a result of a crash in Germany.
Five years ago in 2006, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the New Hampshire International Speedway
for a 100-mile event that was run on Friday. Forty-one cars were on hand for
time trials. Showers forced NASCAR to cancel qualifying and set the starting
field based on car owner point standings. Mike Stefanik was given the pole
starting position. Earlier before the rains came a practice session gave a
preview of things to come. Todd Szegedy was the fastest as he toured the
1-mile oval to the tune of 128.398 MPH. Second fastest at 128.363 MPH was
Tony Hirschman. Rounding out the top five by speed were Donny Lia, Eddie
Flemke Jr. and Mike Stefanik.
Because of the fact that John Blewett III chose to run for the
track championship at the Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey he was forced
to start 21st as he has only run a partial schedule on the tour. When he
does compete in tour races he is fast, very fast. He left little doubt last
Friday as he completed a clean sweep of both Whelen Modified Tour Series
events at Loudon. At least this time he could celebrate. When he won the
July event, he was on his way to New Jersey when he got the word that
NASCAR, in its haste to complete the event under caution, had made a mistake
and declared James Civali the winner. When Blewett took the checkered flag
the field had been under green since lap 68 and there was no question who
the winner actually was. He was flat out running! Jerry Marquis finished a
close second but in the end couldn’t a pass by Blewett. Civali, who was
still licking his wounds from July, finished a solid third ahead of Mike
Stefanik and Todd Szegedy who rounded out the top five.
The race was slowed by only two cautions for 11 laps. The first
caution was for Doug Coby who came to a stop on the front stretch on lap 48.
The second caution came on lap 61 when Reggie Ruggiero, Szegedy and Chuck
Hossfeld were collected in a wreck in turn four. Ruggerio got the worst of
it and was done for the day. Twenty-one of the original 21 starters finished
on the lead lap. As always, the Whelen Modified Tour Series event at Loudon
was the best of the weekend. There were 17 official lead changes among 7
drivers. Szegedy led the most laps, 33, but it was Blewett who got the big
check, $13,000 after he led only the final eight laps. Sixth through tenth
were Ted Christopher, Eddie Flemke Jr., Zach Sylvester, Eric Beers and Tony
Hirschman. Blewett’s younger brother Jimmy finished 11th.
Blewett backed up his Loudon win with a convincing win at his home
track, Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey, on Saturday night.
The Thompson Speedway was forced to cancel their regular Thursday
Night Thunder program when rain blanketed the area. With the season rapidly
winding down only two more Thursday dates remain to fill out the schedule.
The intensity of the point’s battles is lead by the Sunoco Modified division
with a mere six points separating Woody Pitkat and Jeff Malave. Not only is
the Thompson championship the goal of both, but the NASCAR Division IV title
is also a huge part of the equation. Tom Cravenho, Todd Ceravolo and Bert
Marvin round out the top five in the point standings.
The Stafford Springs Motor Speedway made the right call when they
canceled Friday’s NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series racing card. With the forecast
calling for intermittent rain throughout the entire day and evening, the
speedway pulled the plug shortly before 9:00am.
The Waterford Speedbowl closed out their regular Saturday night
season. Tom Fox and Diego Monahan topped a slate of 12 different winners.
The Speedbowl crowned two champions as well. Tim Jordan and Danny Field
clinched the Late Model and Mini Stock championships respectively and Dennis
Gada was all but assured of his sixth SK crown headed into the weekend’s
Finale. Rescheduled rainouts resulted in the marathon racing session. In
addition to Fox and Monahan, the win list included Allen Coates and Larry
Goss in the Late Models; Greg Butler Jr. and Al Stone III in the Sportsman
and Joe Godbout III and Phil Evans in the Mini Stocks. It was the first-even
win for Butler and the first of the season for Stone. Dan Valentine of the
Faith Church Ministries of New Milford scored a convincing win in the Faster
Pastor race. Curtis D’Addario Sr., a nine-time Wild n’ Wacky Wednesday
winner, added another X-Car feature Saturday night, edging Mark Caise at the
checkered. Jordan, the first-ever rookie to win the Late Model title, did it
the hard way with a couple of 15th place finishes, the second in Jay
Lozyniak’s regular ride. The consistent Field scored a third and a second.
Gada needed only to start Sunday’s 100-lap SK feature to capture his
record-tying sixth crown following a fifth and second. Bob Potter currently
holds the record. A seventh and a third put Joe Curioso III back into the
Sportsman point lead but by a scant four points over Dwayne Dorr heading
into the Finale.
Fox grabbed the lead at the start and won the resumption of the
SK-feature stopped after 12 laps on Sept.9. Gada made a determined outside
bid following a restart with 16 laps left but drifted back to fifth at the
checkered. Shawn Monahan ended up second and was followed by Chris Pasteryak
and Rob Janovic. Diego Monahan held back Gada for most of the second half of
the second SK race and claimed his third win of the season. Jeff Pearl,
Chris Pasteryak and Mark Pane rounded out the top five.
It was announced that long time public relations director Pete
Zanardi would retire from his post at the shoreline oval at seasons end.
Considered one of the best in the business as both a PR Man and a writer
Zanardi has been a mentor to many of us in the writing game including yours
truly. Zanardi’s efforts as well as those of Bill Roth have kept the
Speedbowl afloat during the last few difficult years.
In other weekend racing, Bentley Warren passed Chris Perley and
Dave Mcknight to win the Bud Super Nationals at Oswego, TJ Potrzebowski won
the 56th annual Race of Champions and Kevin Harvick beat out Tony Stewart in
the Nextel Cup event at Loudon. Ted Christopher got a late start and an
early finish. Scheduled to drive the Kirk Shelmerdine entry, Christopher
started the race after seven laps were run as his spotter was stuck in an
elevator. He finished dead last in 41st spot.
Last year, 2010, Thursday night
Thunder Racing at the Thompson Speedway continued to be some of the best
competition to be seen as Danny Cates went from the outhouse to the
penthouse in the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds at the high banked, lightning
fast oval. Cates, who has been extremely fast and smooth all year had only
one victory on the season going into the night's racing program. Cates
powered his second win of the season despite having to start last in the 18
car starting field. Ted Christopher who has dominated the division with ten
wins was never a factor as his night ended on the tail end of a wrecker.
Christopher was all done by the third lap when John Catania hit the wall
going into the third turn, drifted down, and hit Christopher’s car, severely
damaging the right-side suspension.
Following Cates and Woody Pitkat at the finish was Silk, Rocco and
Preece. Christopher who currently leads Pitkat by 56 points finished 15th.
In other action at Thompson, Larry Gelinas dominated in Super Late
Models to score his fourth victory of the 2010 season. Spirits were riding
high as Mike Scorzelli and Chad Baxter of scored career firsts in the Late
Models and Mini Stocks respectively. Joe Coates was tops in the Limited
Sportsman division while Brian Tagg wired the field for the TIS Modified
After a week off, the Stafford Speedway was back in action on
Friday, September 10th with the Inaugural Shark Cycle 100. It was a banner
night for Stafford's own Woody Pitkat, who bagged a double by winning both
the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, and the 30-lap Late Model feature. The SK
Modified® victory was the third of 2010 for Pitkat and the Late Model win
was his second consecutive and seventh overall win of 2010. Other feature
winners were Tommy Barrett, Jr., who scored his ninth win of 2010 in the
20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr., who won his second
feature of 2010 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Andrew Hayes
scored his third win of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the SK Modified feature Ryan Preece finished second. Rounding
out the top five was JeffMalave, Dan Avery and Josh Sylvester. Keith Rocco's
9th place finish was enough to clinch the 2010 Stafford Motor Speedway SK
Modified® track championship.
In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl
Todd Ceravolo made it two in a row in SK Modified competition. Keith Rocco
was second with Rob Janovic finishing third. Ron Yuhas and Doug Coby ran
side-by-side to the checkered flag for fourth, with Yuhas taking that spot
by a bumper.
In other action at the Speedbowl, Vin Esposito won his second Bob
Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature on the year. Ed Puleo went pole to pole
to win his fifth Street Stock race of 2010, while Mark Panaroni checkered
the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race, his first of the season. Russ Stoehr
won a 35-lap NEMA Midget memorial race and Jesse State of New Hyde Park, NY
was the victor in the NEMA Lite event.
The Modified Racing Series made its inaugural visit to the Stafford
Motor Speedway last Friday night. Ted Christopher put the Joe Brady #00 in
victory lane. Starting third, Christopher took the lead from Ron Silk on lap
two and never looked back. It was Christopher's 110th win at Stafford. Silk
finished second and was followed by Rowan Pennink, Jeff Malave and Chris
Pasteryak. Sixth through tenth were Mike Stefanik, Bryon Chew, Eric Goodale,
Richard Savory and Bobby Santos III.
Eighteen of the 28 starters were on the lead lap at the finish.
There were 38 cars on hand for the inaugural event which appeared to be well
received by fans and track management alike.
Justin Bonsignore the leading rookie driver on the NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour enjoyed some home cooking Saturday night when he topped the
35-lap NASCAR Modified feature event at Riverhead Raceway posting the $1,425
victory. With a 5th place finish Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue sewed up the
2010 NASCAR Modified championship giving him two titles in the class with
his first coming in 2004.
Kevin Harvick passed Brad Keselowski for the lead with just over 50
laps to go Friday night and won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race for his
third victory of the season and 37th overall.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action Denny Hamlin scored a dominating win at
the Richmond International Raceway. It came a week after he had the car to
beat in Atlanta until an engine failure dropped him to a last-place finish,
and the Richmond win pushed him into the points lead for the first time in
his career. d.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
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